Movie News, Reviews and More!

Our Mission
Prize Trivia
The Golden Rules
Movie News
Movie Reviews
Submit a Review
Your Videos/Movies
Movies by Period/Category
Register & WIN!

When James Whale directed the original Frankenstein movie with Boris Karloff seventy five years ago, no one in Hollywood ever imagined that it would be the precursor to decades of profitable movie making for the industry.  The next major horror movie that Boris Karloff made was The Mummy with Zita Johann.  That movie, which I think was far better than Frankenstein, has been remade several times, the last one being in 1999 with Rachel Weisz and Arnold Vosloo as the Mummy.   Boris Karloff did not have the acting ability of, say, Basil Rathbone so he was typecast in similar roles for the rest of his life and managed to milk it for all it was worth.  It was just lucky that he was chosen to be in Frankenstein; otherwise he would have stayed a bit player the rest of his life.  Submit your Horror or Fantasy Reviews.

Generally, horror movies are cheap to produce. They do not need major movie stars or expensive sets.

Additionally, horror movies have a cult following which seems to carry on from generation to generation. So, unlike other genres such as Westerns or comedies they never go out of style.

Horrors and Horror/Fantasies are generally divided into two categories.

The most popular and therefore the most financially profitable type is the blood and gore horror which we identify as the Slasher category.  Movies such as The Texas Chain Massacre, Friday the 13 th movies, Nightmare on Elm Street, several versions of Halloween, Saw, Hills Have Eyes, Hostel and Descent fall into this category.

The golden rules for making horror movies.

Rule one.   Talent is not important. 

Rule two.   A huge amount of money is not important.

Rule three. Any high school kid can write a Slasher movie for peanuts

Rule four.   You can get young star struck teens to play in the movie for peanuts. If you play your cards right,  they may even pay you.

Rule five.    Hire a recent graduate of a film school to do your directing.

Rule six.     Your most difficult task is finding a distributor.

Rule seven. Think of going straight to Video if you cannot get screen time

You do not need a lot of money or famous actors to make these movies. The script is sloppy and the direction ham handed.  In Friday the 13 th series, they practically changed the cast every time.  Most of those actors never appeared in another movie ever again.  In these movies what you will get is nudity, plenty of sex and lots of blood.  Add beheading, blood vessels spurting red stuff and eyeballs being gouged to name a few of the horrible actions that humans perform on each other.  Sometimes the story is so bizarre that it is almost comical.  One of my favorite scenes was a couple making love on a bed and as they approached their climax, they got skewered together with a spear shot from the floor below. But these movies have their audience who pay to see the same story with a different name over and over again.  

The other category of horrors is the Psychological category.  They require more intelligence to produce and direct.  The original Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock was such a wonder.  As  you probably know Janet Leigh was wearing a leotard and you never saw the blade entering the flesh.  Yet it was one of the scariest movies made.

Les Diabolique made by Henry George Cluzot has gone down in history of horrors as another great psychological horror thriller.   If you have never seen it, you will be scared especially in the final scene.  I was scared stiff and then relieved when the venerable detective played by Charles Vanel stepped out the shadows to arrest the culprits.

The British made wonderful horror movies.  They did not have great budgets but the acting and direction was usually superb.  There are two gems that I managed to see years ago on the British TV.  One was titled The Night of the Eagle directed by Sidney Hayers.  This is a movie that you will have to see from the beginning to the end.  The tension gradually builds up and by the end the anxiety is almost unbearable. The other was Night of the Demon directed by the Frenchman Jacques Tourneur with Dana Andrews who, being ignored by the US studios, found work in the United Kingdom.  I remember the woman sitting next to me kept screaming in fear throughout the scary parts of the movie.  There was no blood or sex involved and yet it played on your mind.  Hammer Studios was established in the 1950's.  For the next thirty years they specialized in horror movies.  They made many horror movies about Dracula, The Mummy, and Frankenstein.  They hired very talented, but unknown, actors such as Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.  The movies were cheaply made but were very successful worldwide.


During the same time frame, Hollywood made House of Wax in 3D with Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy and Charles Buchinske who later became known as Charles Bronson. Then there was Phantom of the Rue Morgue along the same lines but it was not as successful.

Then in the seventies and beyond the interest in the Psychological genre waned and most horror movies were made in the Slasher mode.  Warner Brothers released The Exorcist in 1973 with Max Von Sydow and Linda Blair.  The bloodiest scene where the young Linda Blair breaks her hymen with a crucifix would never have passed the censors of the Fifties or even the Sixties.  That was the defining moment for the horror genre.  After that any kind of atrocity, blood, sex and mutilation was allowed in the movies.  The first Alien movie was released in 1979 followed by three more sequels, the last one being made in 1997.  This movie made a star of the unknown bit player Sigourney Weaver.

There is still hope.  There are some Slasher movies which get a B grade.  These movies have talent, good script and good continuity.   Some examples are the Blade Trilogy, the Alien as already mentioned and the Predator with Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Although some may classify the last two as Science Fiction, this critic still classifies them as Horror. One of my recent favorites is Van Helsing, released by Universal in 2004 starring Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale.

I do not want to finish this section without talking about Roger Corman.  He is the master exploitation producer in Hollywood.  He made many Horror and Sci-Fi movies on the cheap and made money doing it.  For example, he made a movie based on an Edgar Allen Poe's story called The Raven.  His main actors Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre and Vincent Price were Hollywood has beens.  One of his associates once said that, he managed to scrounge around and rent these actors for one day or two days at a time and build the story around the time that he had available from them.  A good business man and not a very great film maker.